Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year, Same Blogs | 25 Blogs to Carry into 2 0 1 7


Before I wrapped up post for 2016, I wanted to curate a list of blogs I follow closely, some of which I've been following for years now. Not included in this compilation are obvious favorites like Complex, The Fader, and HYPEBEAST , but I'd really like to get into the blogs with smaller platforms, yet developed by creatives who are dedicated to their brands and consistently deliver content I personally look forward to reading. 

Although the blogs listed vary in content, each of these bloggers have all inspired me in some way, shape, or form to stay creative, cultivate my passions; to continue to walk my own path-no matter how crazy it gets, revel in my own truth, and utilize my own voice, despite who I think notices. I'm intentional about the people I've chosen to follow on every platform I occupy. Without further ado, here are 25* blogs that I plan to take with me into the new year and highly recommend:
  1. BAUCE Magazine  |  @BauceMag
  2. Jocks & Stiletto Jill   | @StilettoJill
  3. Twenties Unscripted  |  @tyunscripted
  4. The Indie Byline  |  @IndieByline
  5. Life with jrdn  | @LifeWithJRDN
  6. Marevoli  | @MelodyOnTheMove
  7. A Journey East  | @ajourneyeast
  8. Emmelie De La Cruz  | @EmmelieDeLaCruz
  9. Vic Styles  | @TheVicStyles
  10. Cozy Girl Squad | @bydonette
  11. From a Wildflower  | @fromawildflower
  12. Kimberly Luxe  | @KimberlyLuxe
  13. xoNecole  | @xoNecole
  14. Brittni Pope  | @BrittniPope
  15. The Active Spirit  | @DisaChantel
  16. The Reign XY  | @TheReignXY
  17. So She Writes | @SoDreWrites
  18. Bronze Bombshell  | @bronze_bombSHEL
  19. Amber-Janae  | @WhoIsAmberJanae
  20. Pretty, Brown, & Nerdy  | @pbntweets
  21. All the Many Layers  |  @GGReneeWrites
  22. Brandon Braxton  | @Dante_Diable54
  23. Lasers of Six  | @SixLasers (null)
  24. The Stylish Standout  | @StylishStandout
  25. The Cool Out Corner  | @92Verbs
sidenote: As you may notice, the last 4 blogs are men in the blogging world whose work I really admire and even though this list is in no particular order, I did group them together intentionally. In 2017, can we please encourage more black boys to start blogs...something like a #BlackBoysWhoBlog {shoutout to Morgan for creating the #BlackGirlsWhoBlog counter movement}? I really think my list-although the bloggers listed are incredible-could use a masculine balance, so if you have any suggestions on male bloggers worth following (and please not the self proclaimed relationship gurus who spend their time writing think pieces on how women should think, act, feel, etc.) leave their links in the comment section, so that I can check them out. 



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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Currently

Chymere Anais original photography. Shot w/ a iPhone 6s +

♥ In Love with: my city, sweet home A T L A N T A , all over again!

 ♥ Working On: content my sports blog that officially launched on 12.15.16 + VLOGMAS 2016 video editing

 ♥ Favorite Visual: different sights around the city // chic-industrial home decor

 ♥ Music [favorite sounds]: Starboy - The Weeknd // Musical Year in Review 2016 coming soon!!!

 ♥ Anticipating : what 2 0 1 7 has in store for all of us , which, despite the hiccups of the past year, I'm really hopeful about the new year

 ♥ Reading : 'Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur' by: Alwill Leyba Cara

 ♥ Watching: haven't been watching TV much lately besides ESPN & SportsCenter // consumed with making sure I have fresh content ready for SBS

 ♥ Favorite Words:

 "I am a lover without a lover. I am lovely and lonely and I belong deeply to myself." -Warsan Shire 

 ♥ Thinking about: what my intentions are for the upcoming year

 ♥ Over the Moon about: being back in a familiar place with a new perspective and a more positive attitude. 2016 has been a nightmare, but I am starting to feel whole again. On top of being in a much more positive space, I'm just happy to be here, where I am loved, celebrated, and safe.

 ♥ Dreaming Of: the era GLO-up; I can just feel the elevation to the woman I know I'm meant to be and...the thought of "her" makes me so happy to be alive in this moment.

 @ChymereA

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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2016 ($100 or Less)

With the long lines and crowd dodging, shopping for loved ones for the holidays can be stressful. If you're someone like me, who relies heavily on the sentimental value and the personalization aspect of gifting, it's easily spend hours in stores, just to find the perfect gift for someone. Beyond the gift itself, there's something truly special about watching their reaction. In the spirit of giving, I decided to curate a resourceful gift guide, which fully stands behind the notion of supporting small business (especially black owned). 

Hopefully, this compilation helps or - at the very least - sparks an idea of how to sort and organize your holiday shopping list. I've broken the list down into 6 different categories, each category based on the personalities of different people in my life.



For the Culture Enthusiast:

For the Techie/Gamer:

For the Art/Music-lover:

    For the IG Queen/King:

    For the Classic Man:


    {Photo credits (top to bottom): Peace Images. Melanin Apparel. Sean Hollister-CNET. Charley Gallay/Stringer/Getty Images. Unknown. TimexHerschel. Kobe Bryant. NFL Store.}

    Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All products are based on things I personally like and what I think others would love as well.}

    @ChymereA
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    Sunday, December 4, 2016

    11 Things to Do This Month | December 2016

    {Update from October 2016's Things to Do: I'm willing to admit that-even with a 2 month time span- there are still things to be done from that month's list. Life has been so...crazy lately that I can't even begin to explain the neglegence on my part. That being said, please don't be surprised if some things show up multiple times, especially the ones I'm constantly working on.}

    Although I feel like I say this at the end of every year, it's hard to believe we're at the end 2016 already and Christmas is right around the corner! This year hasn't necessarily been the greatest for me personally, but that doesn't mean I don't have the opportunity to end it on a positive note.
    1. Visit Detroit for the first time and have coffee with LJ
    2. Despite the circumstances, words have been just flowing to me like crazy lately and I've made a huge dent in the book idea mentioned on October's Things to Do. It's been pretty amazing, because it's been a while since I've been inspired to just write. I'm loving the direction so far, so the goal here is to simply keep writing.  
    3. Work on business plan. I wrote out a fresh list of goals in my journal, outlined with specific deadlines for the next 2-3 years and more calculated details than what's here. Sometimes it's necessary to take a few steps back to figure out what you really want and now that I've finally realized what's stopping me, it's now time to start #PLOTTING and setting myself up for long-term success. {message}
    4. Create more content for my blogs. As far as my YouTube channel goes, I think I want to put that on hold for a while once vlogmas is over or at least until I figure out a more clear direction for it, but I do plan to participate in vlogmas (vlogging everyday in the month of December) this year; however, I'll be doing things a bit differently by vlogging daily, posting weekly. 
    5. Speaking of blogging, I'll be launching new blog project very soon, as I mentioned on the previous post...wait on it! 
    6. Find quiet time and time to unplug. Connect with the people I love. Ignore all the bull shit. Protect my peace of mind.
    7. Rededicate myself to health + fitness and prepare to join a master's swim team by January, because to say a milkshake a day  and no exercise whatsoever isn't good is an understatement. #FitGirlThick2017
    8. Read at least 2 books geared towards entreprenuers, such as this one and the one I'm currently reading. Look for ones specifically designed for blog/social media, or ones that are highly recommended by entreprenuers I personally admire. The one pictured has been on my radar for a while too and I finally picked up a copy, so I'll probably read it on the plane on the way to Detroit.
    9. Start planning to take an EPIC birthday trip next year. Aiming for Jamaica!
    10. Prepare to move back to home sweet A T L A N T A  and get ready to adjust to a new schedule. I don't think I'll be going too much into detail about why I'm moving, but for those who are curious, just know I'm just doing what I feel is best for me. 
    11. Fill up my 2017 agenda with birthdays, different events, and tentative plans, to set the tone for a busy, yet fulfilling and well-balanced year. 
    @ChymereA
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    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Transition

    Hello, Internet friends...

    These past few years have felt like a perpetual state of "starting over"; in fact, I just changed my number (for the millionth time) like a week ago. I'd like to tell myself it's because I embrace change and adapt well, when in reality, it probably has more to do with not ever knowing what I'm doing with my life and/or having too much time on my hands. Constantly changing for the hell of it seems a little abnormal, a little unstable, so maybe I've spent a large portion of my life being a little insane.

    Things have obviously changed around here...again; I can just feel my corner of the blogosphere getting smaller. As much as I like the direction my blog has taken this year, I've been wanting to get back to personal blogging more and curating this collection of things that spark my interest, where I'm not necessarily concerned with building anything from it.

    Also, just to put it out there, there will soon be an announcement about a project I've been working on. Because it's something I've attempted in the past and is a lot more focused on one specific niche, I'm really excited/nervous about re-launching.
    "If it's both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it." -Erada
    The first time around, I didn't allow it the time and consistency in needed to thrive, for sure, so hopefully it will turn out to be successful. At any rate, more details will be annouced in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that...

    Per usual, I can only hope people continue to follow, engage, and adjust with the new changes, but of course, high expectations regarding things I cannot control won't do me any good. I am thankful for the loyalist who choose to stick with me through all the changes and learning to be equally grateful for the people who think I'm doing too much, because let's be honest here...I probably am.

    No apologies, it is what it is...because I will keep changing, growing, adapting whether those changes are forced or organic, until I find what works best for me.
    @ChymereA
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    Monday, November 21, 2016

    Christmas Wish List 2016

    Christmas List '16


    Every year, I compile these list + visuals of the items that I've had my heart set on all year. This year, I think I deserve to treat myself; if not for Christmas, definitely in the next few months to follow. Adulthood has a tendency of draining you completely of all your resources, but I'm learning that it's totally OK to treat yo self every now and then. I've also been feeling pretty optimistic about my finances lately, so that's a good indicator that this year might actually be different as far as what I can and can't afford. 
    1. This particular handbag is sold out at Target and it hurts my heart! It was recommended by Charisse Christine on YT a couple of years ago, so perhaps, I took too long to snatch it up. My parents bought me an alternative last Christmas that has since been stolen and I've been looking for a replacement ever since.
    2. Prada Candy eau de parfum has been on the radar for a while now too. It has a very subtle, playful scent that wears very well throughout the day.
    3. After this year's Apple Keynote, I was so impressed with the Apple Watch Series 2, although I wasn't too pressed about getting the iPhone 7/7 Plus.
    4. This Crosley turntable is another item that's been on my radar forever and is also sold out, which is unfortunate, because I really adore the encasement for that one. I believe this camel-colored keepsake embossed record player would be a nice alternative. 
    5. CoCo Noir x Chanel is such sexy and divinely feminine fragrance that absolutely belongs in my collection. 
    6. This gem was found via an article from ESSENCE Magazine, "13 Dope Holiday Gift Ideas For Every Member Of Your Squad". As a hip-hop head, music enthusiast, and ATCQ fan, I am so in love and I need this shirt in my life! On top of that, I'm all for supporting black owned businesses as much as I possibly can.  
    What's on your wish list this year?
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    Friday, November 18, 2016

    5 Reasons Why People Avoid "Minimalism"

    Minimalism is one of the many trends of the culture. While I do believe there are certain aspects of the lifestyle that are beneficial, such as creating breathing space, not having an overwhelming amount of clutter, etc. it's something that I don't believe I could maintain; not because I can't, but because I simply do not want to. The reasons per individual differ and of course, this post is generally speaking and not my reasons may not be true for everyone, but these are the things I'm currently dealing with in regards to maintaining the clutter. 

    Also, I am currently somewhere in the middle of a transitional phase of my life where I'm being elevated to a different position (which, I'll write about later). . So, I figured this would be an opportune time to write out the reasons why people, namely myself, fear the concept of minimalism. 



    1. Not accustomed to having a lot of material things. There's a stinging sensation in my chest anytime I bring myself to say 'I didn't have much growing up', especially now with the understanding that what I did have was sufficient. My parents spoiled me with experiences; I was able to travel the world, go to the best schools, participate in sports, attend concerts, do things that connected me to other cultures. I was always well fed and loved unconditionally, and those things will forever be of more value than anything money could buy. However, I never owned the newest pair of Jordan's, never owned anything name brand, and there wasn't spare money laying around to just go out and buy everything I so desired, which brings me to the point: a lot of my adult expenses are compiled of things I don't necessarily need, because of feeling like I missed out on society's fabricated version of wealth.

    2. Too much pressure to be perfect. Probably the most standout reason why I can't seen myself committing to minimalism lifestyle, there is this underlying pressure to be perfect, where everything is airy, whimsical, and organized in proper and orderly fashion. All over social media, blogs, and popular Instagram accounts, the common theme is minimalism, pressed against a super clean, all-white background. Life is not that way, so I never wanted to stage my life to appear that way for aesthetic purposes. 

    3. Associating the idea of blessings with tangible things. This goes hand in hand with my own childhood, because there was a reoccurring lesson in the experiences that my parents sacrificed so much of their time, money, and resources for: the best things in life are the things that can't be seen or touched. Knowing this, however, doesn't stop me from the dominating joy of having full access to all the first world luxuries, i.e. iPhone, car, shoes, and so forth. 

    4. Sentimental attachment. There are a lot of trash-able items that hold memories that make it even harder to let go. People collect things with the belief that if they decided to throw it away, they wouldn't have the memory anymore, which isn't true, because memories are in our hearts. I believe even when we become stricken with age and memories began to beget us, certain ones remain in our spirits forever. 

    5. Letting go is extremely hard for some of us. I am one to hold on to something way longer than I should, like my favorite t-shirt that belongs to a former [nameless] lover or the other half of the B.F.F. necklace I had with the childhood bestie I don't even speak to anymore. In fact, someone in this world has even had their dead pet stuffed and as wild as that may sound to some people, I get it, because when the dog, who was my saving grace died unexpectedly last year, I definitely considered doing it too.

    As I evolve into this new space, I just have to accept that cutting down on the clutter is so crucial to my life at the moment and although it's becoming harder for me to accept that some things just have to go, literally and metaphorically speaking, I know it has to be done. Adapting to a more minimal lifestyle, I just have to find out what works for me, hold on to what is truly special, keeping in mind those things which are truly essential:

    Love...
    happiness...
    peace of mind...
    serendipity...

    Wish me luck. 

    @ChymereA


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    Sunday, November 13, 2016

    Music Collective: vol. 52 {Life in Sounds}

    A short + sweet play list of the songs that I've been vibing + listening to lately:

    s o n g s : 

    • Lucid Dreaming - Tinashe
    • Nights - Frank Ocean
    • All of My Love -Etta Bond ft. Chris Loco
    • Garden - Emeli Sande ft. Jay Electronica + Aine Zion
    • Everybody Shut Up - Jesse Boykins III

    a l b u m s + EP's: 

    • Pho - Ari Lenox
    • A Seat at the Table - Solange
    • We Got it From Here: Thank You for Your Service - ATCQ
    • The Divine Feminine - Mac Miller
    • Color Blind: Love - October London
    • Meditations of a G - Chargaux

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    Friday, October 14, 2016

    Music Collective: vol. 51 {#BlackGirlMagic, the Play List}

    Listen to #BlackGirlMagic, the Play List on Spotify + Apple Music
    If you've been keeping up with my life or this blog at all, you may have noticed that I've been focusing more on personal happiness. What better way to channel that focus than through the wonderful gift of music? So I've decided to compile #BlackGirlMagic, the Play List, which is-essentially-the soundtrack of my life currently.

    I will say that Solange's recent release of A Seat at the Table, a beautiful record that so many of black women have found comfort/inspiration in, couldn't have dropped at a more perfect time. On a few different occasions, I've curated play list of songs that make me happy; the difference this time is these songs not only make me happy when I hear them, but also make me so damn proud to occupy the skin I'm in, much like how I felt the first time I heard the album. 

    If you are a black girl who believes in the magic you possess within you, this compilation is designed for you (and the men who love us). Also, please understand that a celebration of self is-by no means-an expression of hatred towards someone who identifies with a different diaspora.

    If you notice there are some of your favorite tunes missing, feel free to leave them in the comment section and/or Tweet me and I'll be sure to add them to the list!


    1. I'm Still Fly - Chrisette Michele
    2. Put Your Records on - Corinne Bailey Rae
    3. The Light - Common 
    4. Feelin' Good - Nina Simone
    5. Black Gold - Esperanza Spalding 
    6. Third Eye - Big K.R.I.T.
    7. Poetic Justice - Kendrick Lamar ft. Drake
    8. I'm the Best - Nicki Minaj
    9. Treat Me Like Fire - Lion Babe
    10. Electric Lady - Janelle Monáe ft. Solange
    11. Golden - Jill Scott
    12. Rise Up - Andra Day
    13. Gust of Wind - Pharrell Williams
    14. Slum Beautiful - OutKast
    15. Don't Touch my Hair - Solange
    16. Brown Sugar - D'Angelo 
    17. * Freedom - Beyoncé ft Kendrick Lamar
    18. Masterpiece Jazmine Sullivan
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    Friday, October 7, 2016

    Make Time for What's Important (an Homage to Personal Happiness)

    Amandla Stenberg | @amandlastenberg
    "...Livin' my life like it's golden, livin' my life like it's golden..." 
    -Jill Scott

    As I've gotten older, I've been considering what's important to me at this point in my life. Only naturally, my priorities over the years have shifted, but sometimes I fall into this trap of nostalgia that makes me miss who I used to be, and sometimes even, who I pretended to be. It's actually quite annoying that I've clung so tightly to things that aren't relevant anymore. What a waste of time! Although it took a while, I'm finally ready to burn the books and dead those chapters that should have been closed years ago. Although letting go can sometimes be a very frustrating transition period, it's time to move on. 

    Moving on and detaching from something can hurt like hell, I know from experience, however, I'm starting to realize that there is a greater reward on the other side of release. This could be letting go of negative thinking, distancing oneself from toxic individuals, allowing the past to stay in the past, and so forth. It isn't always easy to learn how to live without certain situations. It's a process for people like me that takes time to work through. Eventually, the release will be viewed as necessary, because there is no longer a need to continue to block incoming blessings with things that don't quite fit in your life anymore. Alongside fighting depression and striving to be happy, I'm sure I've written about this before. 

    I have to remember to take a deep breath and not allow things I can't control to cause me stress. When I forget, there are gentle reminders all around me, such as my iPhone's lock screen, my mom's encouraging words, my best friends' listening ears. I've even met someone recently, who has been such a breath of fresh air-and with effortless guidance-keeps me just as grounded as the people closest to me. Even on a romantic level, I am learning not to think so far ahead. Staying present has granted the opportunity to find peace in small, yet significant ways and to practice what I preach in regards to affirming my own happiness and finding beauty in all things (without questioning if I deserve beautiful things to happen to me).  Because typically, this is my pattern: I'll write out what good things are happening one minute and completely self-sabotage and abort the next...

    Crissle West | @crissles

    So back to taking into account all that's important to me at this point in my life, which all boils down to happiness and peace of mind; cultivating the opportunity to receive those things and not distract myself with whatever I don't have. I only want to give energy to things that bring me joy. I only want to make room for genuine souls who are able to reciprocate my effort and my love without me having to beg or compromise my worth. I only want to engage in activities that are positive and helpful to my growth (i.e. the list of 14 things to do in October). I only want to promote love and positive vibrations in all facets of my life. The more I focus my energy on what I do want to grow and proliferate, the less space I make for things I don't want.

    Also, I've been spending as much time as possible with my family. Every single day, I run into people who aren't fortunate enough to share special bonds with family members and it reminds me of how blessed I am. Magically enough, it gives me less time to think about people who aren't in my life anymore or cry over who treated me poorly/didn't show love the way I expected and even deserved to be loved, because there are plenty of people who play active roles in my life, even outside of my family circle, whose love sustains me daily. And sometimes the lack of friends in my immediate environment makes me forget all the wonderful friends I've made in my life thus far, who I am 100% sure will be around for a lifetime. It's normal for the people we love to live very busy and separate lives, but we all will always find a way:
    Make time for what's important 
    ...which means carving out quality time for each other. There is no secret science to how to do it; it's actually very simple. For me personally, prioritizing has proven to be a natural remedy for depression, as well as an organic way to keep my anxiety to a minimum. The past nor the future is as important as what's happening in this moment.

    These past few weeks have been difficult and super stressful, simply because I was just trying to find balance, yet feeling like I was drowning in the process. But yesterday, I literally woke up and decided to be happy...and, to my surprise, it actually worked! As long as I can wake up and make that choice, I know I'll be fine. I'm aware that everyday won't be perfect and some days are harder than others, but finally I understand just how much I deserve to be happy...

    Lizzo | @Lizzo

    Smiling from ear to ear happy.
    Can't stop laughing out loud happy.
    Owning every room I walk in happy.
    Excited to face each day and every challenge happy.
    Shining from the inside out happy. 
    Knowing that everything will be OK + the universe is safe happy. 

    Finally. 

    ♥ @ChymereA

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    Sunday, October 2, 2016

    14 Things to Do This Month | October 2016

    Inspired by Cosmopolitan Magazine's monthly "things-to-do" monthly mood boards, I've decided to come up with a spin-off of that concept, composed of short term goals/things I want to push myself to do in the month of October. I'm pretty bad at following a monthly schedule, as I tried to do with the monthly favorites, but I'll try my best to compile at least one every other month from here on out.
    1. Socialize more. Put myself out there. Be more open to making new friends and connections.
    2. Continue to vlog and create content for both my YT channel and blog. The important thing is to just have fun with it. I tend to be so hard on myself when-most of the time-it's really not that serious. I'm also trying not to shy away from vlogging in public, because let's be honest here...no one really cares as much as you think they do. Also, I haven't been blogging or writing in general at all lately, so I have to be more proactive about that as well.
    3. Speaking of writing (as if there isn't so much on my plate already), I have to make time to write this book I've been brainstorming forever seems like
    4. Organize IG theme. I'm not exactly sure if I really want to make my profile public anytime soon, but  if you decide to follow me, please interact with me via Twitter and tell me you're following me in the comment section. I like to be aware of who is following me. 
    5. Start a new ongoing Sports segment on the blog. 
    6. Re-organize Spotify play list and sort through my music library. 
    7. Explore more. Try a new local restaurant. Go on a hike. Find fun (free) things to do in/out of town. Attend local shows and art exhibits. Go on more simple adventures. Be open to discovering new things in the area.
    8. Get back on a regular exercise regimen and join a master's swim team in my area. This is extremely important., because...#FADE. Only half-joking, but I really do miss swimming and training.
    9. Learn how to move on without reconciliation. Every time I cut ties with someone who I've either outgrown or are simply toxic, I always feel the need to seek closure, which I'm starting to see as not always necessary. 
    10. Invest in and restock my "grown woman" perfume collection. Current favorites include Prada Candy, Chance by Chanel, and Chance Noir.
    11. Find small ways to upgrade my wardrobe, because it's been a while and all my clothes feel a little...dated at this point.  
    12. Work on design portfolio. (I'll talk about that in deeper detail later...possibly on a future vlog)
    13. Make plans (now!) to travel more in 2017; I feel like I say this every year. The inaugural year for ComplexCon is coming up next month and as soon as I first learned about it, I knew that would be something I was interested in. However it's not realistic to try to fit it in my budget so that I'm able to go. 
    14. Try to not be a complete buzz kill during #GHOE2016. In case you are wondering, GHOE is a trademark acronym for my university's homecoming, which stands for Greatest Homecoming on Earth. This year, I'm not as excited as I probably could/should be, however, I do have to remember some of the best friends I could ever ask for, who all live in a different state than I do, will be in town, so I owe it to them to try to have as much fun as possible. 

    What are some goals you have for the month of October? How are those goals pushing you closer to your dreams?


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    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Look Book | I ♡ Fall

    I Love Fall Look Book


    Like I said in a previous look book, I've been really gravitating towards blush tones. I still love this color and I think it's a really subtle way to add a touch of feminism to any outfit. 

    Fall is approaching, which excites me for a few different reasons. Not only do I tend to dress up a little more, but this year, I'm planning to upgrade my wardrobe in a pretty major way. The same way this look book implies, the look I'm going for this year is more feminine/sophisticated and I want my closet this to reflect a more professional side of who I am. Of course, I will always have love love for my standard ripped jeans and leggings, but there's a time and a place for that. This outfit speaks volume for the look I'm going for this season. I'm absolutely infatuatated with the specs of the new Apple watch and it sits high on my wish list for Christmas, so I figured I'd throw that in this look book as well.

    This outfit could work for a few different occasions: date night, brunch, business lunch or any work related event that's sort of casual, or a fun night out with the girls. It's simple and classy, yet still very cozy and casual.

    I'd love to know, what looks are you gravitating towards this month?

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    Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Music Collective: vol. 50 {One Dance x Needed Me #SoulFoodSessions x Kiana}


    Have I been hiding under a rock? Apparently so, because this gem recently came across my radar and I don't understand how I missed it. By the time I came across this video, well over 2 million people viewed it and she's already surpassed 67,000 followers on Twitter. I also had no clue she's an actress, so I'm super late, but it's okay; better late than never

    In case you're like me and have been listening to the same albums and play list in rotation, allow me to "introduce" Kiana Ledé, accompanied by Emmy/Grammy nominated producer and pianist, Mike Woods on the keys, as she covers an epic mash up between Drake's 'One Dance' and 'Needed Me' by Rihanna.

    @ChymereA

    Listen + Connect: Kiana | Mike Woods |  @KianaLede  | @MikeWoodss
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    Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    Striving to Be Happy

    More than anything, I just want to be happy, for everyone I love to be happy, and I'd like to believe that it's a common goal across the human race. There is too much going on in the world not to be happy. There is too much hatred in the world to not hope for happiness...and peace...and love...and the power of a sound mind. I think most of the time-especially in cases where there is an oppressed group of people who have been conditioned to feel like they don't deserve it-we forget that we still have the ability to be, thrive in, and maintain that happiness.

    "People don't think there's a process to being happy."
    -Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) 

    Despite that burning desire, I honestly haven't been truly happy in what feels like years. Lately, there's been a lot of chatter about mental health issues, which begets a lot of resources for those who are struggling with things such as depression, anxiety, etc. However, it hasn't dawned on me to actually reach out to a professional and allow them to assist me with whatever it is keeping me back from my own happiness. A part of this is because I don't think my "depression" is that bad, or if I can even rightfully call it that. Another reason is I haven't shifted to a mental space that believes this is a real disease. As crazy as it may sound, I'm one of many black people who aren't ready to talk about mental health, especially in regards to myself. Although I'm openly discussing this right now, as I've been trying to be more vulnerable, I know many people don't read these kind of long, emotional rants on my blog and the people who do read it are typically kind and sincere in their approach, so it's easier to write in this space. It may seem selfish, but at least it's honest.

    The trauma my people face on a regular basis doesn't help. Watching mothers lose their sons and black children lose their fathers, not due to natural causes, but at the hands of those there to 'protect and serve' doesn't help. The negative news and media's exhausting attempting to mold how much information we consume by the hour doesn't help. And every time I read about another hashtag, I instinctively crawl into myself, pray for this nightmare to be over, and wish a black man I'm in love with (who loves me also) was there to hold me until I stop crying. Unfortunately, misery loves company and it's really hard to be sad in a world like this...alone. Again, I know it sounds selfish, but my heart is heavy and love is the only solution I can think of to truly escape the ugliness that tries its best to dismantle all the beauty that does exist.
    "Love is the revolution."
    -Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton

    In terms of being happy, I continue to fight to achieve personal happiness and cherish the things in this life that bring me joy (music, family, adventures, to name a few), because whether outsiders looking in realize it or not, it is a process. Some lows are more difficult to overcome than other low points, but I continue to humble myself in gratitude daily and consider that, even on my worst day, I still have so much to be thankful for. I still carry enough light to go out and be a positive force in the world...and hopefully, that counts for something. 

    ♡ @ChymereA

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    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    Summertime (June | July | August) Favorites

    June | July | August Favorites ♡

    June | July | August Favorites ♡ 

    It wasn't my intention to go this long without doing a monthly favorites post; this post has been sitting in my drafts since July. According to the gap between the most recent compilation of my favorite things and this one, monthly favorites are, essentially, going in the direction of seasonal favorites, which I don't mind, considering I don't find or shop for new things that often.  For the sake of content, here are some of the things I've been loving, reading, and listening to this summer and as of late.

    Music:

    Style + beauty:

    • Dove Purely Pampering body wash in Coconut & Jasmine
    • equate Moisture Care Aloe Cool body lotion w/ Aloe Extract

    Technology:

    Blogs 2 Love + Around the WWW:

    • 'Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness' by: Rebecca Walker
    • 'Between the World and Me' by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • mintGreen 2016/17 Planner (Walmart)
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    Friday, August 26, 2016

    Music Collective: vol. 49 {Study + Chill}

    My moods have been pretty all over the place as of late, but for the most part, my music selections have been really chill, reflective even, to keep my moods balanced. Throughout the day, I go through at least 3 stages: motivation/momentum, thoughts/feelings, and winding down. All summer it was all about songs with a nice beat, happy lyrics, and/or an upbeat tempo, which I may still compose an 'End of Summer' play list, but now that school and other things on my schedule have picked back up, music-like always-is my escape and I'm more inclined to choose songs that either motivate me or give me something to relate to, which both are good to play while my head is in the books. 

    Without further ado, here's what I've been listening to lately: 

    + Listen via Spotify: Study + Chill, Pt. I (play list) | Study + Chill, Pt. II (albums) 

    1. Cool Girl x Tove Lo
    2. Pink + White x Frank Ocean | purchase Blonde here [full album, Apple music exclusive]
    3. Devastated x Joey Bada$$
    4. Fire & Desire x Drake
    5. If You Ever Wanna Be in Love x James Bay
    6. Mistake x Andra Day
    7. Ain't No Use x Matt Woods
    8. Love Yourz x J. Cole

    Bonus Soundcloud tracks:

    1. Make U Mine x Intricate (Cap 6) ft. Ansaah
    2. New Balance x Jhené Aiko

    Favorite albums to study to:

    1. The Odd Tape - Oddisee
    2. Black Radio - Robert Glasper Experiment
    3. Chaos and the Calm - James Bay
    4. Be Good - Gregory Porter
    5. Any 'Final Fantasy' soundtrack
    6. Blonde - Frank Ocean
    If you have been following my music series for a while, you'll know that these list aren't always new/newly discovered songs. If you would like to keep up with the music I may or may not mention on here, follow me on SpotifySoundcloud, as well newer favorite music apps. One is called Cymbal, which is essentially an Instagram for music-heads. The other one is this really dope startup app that just launched yesterday, created by a guy I went to high school with, Dreamrxyz, which is more of a mobile platform with a blog feel that focuses primarily on indie art and urban culture. Already I'm discovering so much quality music on there and I can definitely see myself falling in love with that app!

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    Saturday, August 20, 2016

    08.14.16 | Thoughts of the Moment

    Greetings, misfits and dreamers! 

    Lately, I've been so inspired; maybe it's the Olympics or maybe it's a spiritual force. Either way, I'm thankful that I'm starting to feel a little more at ease and relaxed. I haven't been deep in my thoughts/feelings, which I can only assume is a good thing with the way my mind is set up. Life can be tricky and messy and overwhelming, so having peace of mind is valuable. 

    School started mid-week last week, moved into my new apartment Monday, and life has been pretty hectic just trying to get things together. Excited/anxious, yet ready, to start a new school year. I believe in myself (most days, at least) and I'm blessed to have a strong support system of people who believe in me as well. And I've realized what a blessing it is for people you love to believe in your success and pray for your well-being, constantly and consistently. 

    Although there is so much happening right now, I really need to get back to blogging and articles for HBCU Buzz, really take advantage of the inspiration that's taking place inside me, because there's opportunity in that. That's something I'll have to make time for soon. Patience takes effort and hard work produces results. 

    Another thing I definitely need to get back into is swimming. Sometimes I follow through with training, sometimes I don't, but in lieu of wanting consistency in my life, it's something I feel like I have to commit to. Again, maybe it's the Olympics, because I'm pretty sure I come to this conclusion every 4 years, obviously, but there is something sup special about #Rio2016...BLACK GIRL MAGIC EVERYWHERE! Men and women of color are really taking over in multiple sporting events and with everything going on in the world, specifically in regards to race issues, it's been such a breath of fresh air to witness the many ways in which we excel. Aside from that, I just miss being in the water, competing against my best times, and doing something that makes me happier than anything else in the world. I miss that part of me and it's really depressing that I've let that part of me go. Working on it. 

    On another very random note, every now and then I catch myself wanting to be in a [healthy, long-term, committed] relationship, experience love, and all that jazz, but I know that means letting go of the past and loving myself completely first. I trust that God has something/someone really special waiting for me to be ready and for the right moment for our paths to cross. Although I don't necessarily think we're ever 100% ready for anything, I trust God's perfect timing; I have to be patient. In the meantime, I know it's imperative for me to focus on myself and accomplishing my goals. 

    That pretty much summarizes what I've been up to and where my mind has been wandering off to lately. There are days when I'm not as hopeful, nor optimistic, about the route my life is taking, but I'm thankful for each day I'm given the chance to turn things around for the better. In the words of Simone Manuel, "When God got you, you can't lose." I'm locking that in and saving for those days where I'm not feeling so confident. I certainly do not apologize if it was too long, but I appreciate anyone who took the time to read all of what was within me to express. Needless to say, I'm back to blogging more consistently and I have a good feeling about what I'm about to do/create/experience with all this inspiration I'm holding on to! Possibility meets opportunity, indeed. 

    To everyone starting a new semester, new career/career path, or anything new happening in your life, big and small, never settle and good luck in everything you wish to accomplish by the end of this year! Be absolutely victorious in every stage of life you find yourself in. 

    ♥ @ChymereA

    QOTD: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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    Thursday, July 14, 2016

    City Finds | 20 Black Owned Business in the Metro-Atlanta Area


    As a woman of color, I find myself constantly engaged in conversations about how to improve our communities and re-establish the role we play in society. In lieu of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's not difficult to recognize the many different ways we thrive and where our strengths are, but it's sometimes easier to focus more on the disconnects in our community by acknowledging the areas in which we fail. 

    There is such an overwhelming burst of pride anytime I walk into an establishment and discover that it is black-owned, because they aren't always outwardly obvious finds. It also reminds me of the pride I felt learning that my great-grandfather owned a grocery store during an era in southern America where black men weren't allowed in most-if not all-public facilities. More than anything, I want us to get back to that, not to create more segregation or keep people out, but so that we are not depending upon the financial establishments of those who oppress us.

    As a way to demonstrate and implore the on-going support of black entrepreneurs who are making positive strides in the economy, some of which are friends, peers, and personal mentors, I've compiled a list of 20 black owned business in the metro-Atlanta area:  
    1. DeKalb Aquatics: Melissa Wilborn
    2. J.W. Robinson & Associates:
    3. Apache Cafe
    4. The Atlanta Voice Newspaper: Janis L. Ware
    5. S.Council Law Firm, LLC: Shirnelle Council, Esq.
    6. Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead: Gregory and Juanita Baranco 
    7. Jackson Acura, Roswell: Harvey L. Jackson
    8. C.D. Moody Construction Co.: C. David Moody, Jr.
    9. Get LumaDr. Paul Judge and Mike Van 
    10. Premier Academy: Cindra Taylor 
    11. Well Groomed Male: Troy King
    12. Gladys Knight’s & Ron Winan’s Chicken & Waffles: Gladys Knight and Shanga Hankerson
    13. Uptown Comedy Corner
    14. Khatameyic: Tabia Clinkscale
    15. Busy Bee Cafe: Lucy Jackson
    16. Paschal’s Restaurant: James and Robert Pascha
    17. The Major Gallery: Nija Major
    18. 1st Choice Credit Union
    19. H.J. Russell & Co.: Herman J. Russell
    20. The Beehive ATL: Malene Davis
    If you're from or familiar with the city of Atlanta and know of any other businesses that should be added, I encourage you to keep building and adding the list! In your area, what are some black business or ones with a positive cause geared towards minority groups? I love to travel, so I'm always looking to explore new local businesses to support. 

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    Friday, July 8, 2016

    Why #BlackLivesMatter is More than a Hashtag

    Protesters walked along Washington Avenue during a Black Lives Matter rally on April 29, 2015, in Minneapolis. image source.
    Writing this think-piece has been on my mind for a while, just an empty blog post sitting in my dashboard. Even sitting down to attempt to say something, there is a demon in me holding me back, telling me my words don't matter and never will, that in a sea of popular bloggers and celebrity propaganda, no one will ever read this post. And I try to send positive messages via social platforms like Twitter until I'm blue in the face about social issues, because I know eventually, they will float off into the abyss and be forgotten about sooner or later. In reality, I'm numb. There is so much pain, hurt, and questions that remain unresolved in my heart, from the events that have transpired over the last 48 hours, let alone what has happened in my lifetime, yet I'm trying to come from a place of love and a place where solutions are at the forefront, because I know at the end of the day, it's not about me. 
    The most controversial sector of all of this seems to be any mention of Black Lives Matter. Essentially, it was a movement designed to bring about change and to make people aware of what has been going on for centuries. Black Lives Matter stems from fighting to seek justice, standing up for what is right. It's a desperate need for the world to see black people as humans who don't deserve to live in a perpetual state of genocide just because of the color of their skin. However, no matter how many people of color voice that its not about starting a hate war or how many terrorist groups use its messaging to recruit, it's not about killing cops, it's not about dismissing other races, despite the few who misuse the intentions of this cause just like anything else, there are still people who are convinced of the opposite, which is why this demon keeps telling me my words don't matter, because people do not care about the truth.


    Please, for the sake of this argument, understand that I do not believe all white people are racist or that all people who look differently than me are against me. The peaceful protest this day in age have become a lot more diverse than they were in the 60's and I would never dismantle the character of someone of another perspective deciding to selflessly stand up with me for my rights. The truth of the matter is racist individuals of European descent get away with murder and our judicial system is equipped to protect them, not black people. There's always an excuse as to why another black male deserved to die at the hands of police, whether he was an illiterate thug or an educated saint, aggressive and uncivilized or docile and compliant, it does not matter. If my words fail to articulate that fact, perhaps intense research could do that job on my behalf. 

    Unfortunately, black on black crime always gets pulled into the conversation, usually by token black people who feel that their degrees, status, religious affiliations, education, etc. gives them a pass that somehow excludes them from being a target in a gun show over race. Being that black on black crime an issue we face daily, it's something we have to work on as a group; I completely and utterly get this, as many of us do. However, the reason it's not relevant in terms of redundant police brutality and race wars is because when a group of people start to feel like they can't win either way, despite how they act or where they choose go to school in order to better themselves, they become hopeless, fearful. That's how "the streets" were created. The act of classism itself is just as destructive as systematic racism when it's time to find solutions.
    It's also not fair to compare a black man shooting a black man to a cop killing a black man. The black man-if caught-will always be penalized for his crimes against other people. A cop, on the other hand, will walk away with a pension check. Each year, we add more names to the list of people who are killed by the trained authorized who have vowed to 'protect and serve'. For instance, when a black man kills a police officer, he is executed on sight. A cop commits the same crime on camera, there is a need for an extensive investigation, the kind that typically ends up being in favor of the Justice Department at stake. These events then force people to hold up their fists in fights for justice. Yes, both are wrong, but there is a huge difference in how this country responds to and distinguishes right vs. wrong. Most of the time, it is very much about race. In addition, none of this is new, which is why we continue to say: BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

    What is apparent in this nation right now is division. There are systems set up against minority groups, specifically, that said groups have been taught to trust. Black communities destroying communities they didn't create in the first place and killing each other in retaliation. Religious and political organizations against gay people. Citizens against immigration. Extremist against anyone who doesn't live by their own moral compass. In fact, we're so divided, that we have yet to conquer the endless wars (human trafficking, drugs, gun control laws, etc.) that affect people of many diasporas daily. Fear. And the only things that reign supreme in this country are fear and misunderstanding within the human race. In the age of technology, we're instantly exposed to so much and are constantly in a race to share/argue our varying opinions, but we will never rise up by standing against each other for our varying views, which is why I try so hard to be less argumentative these days. It doesn't solve anything to be as intelligent as I am and not be able to have conversations with someone who sees things differently. 
    In conclusion, we're not all writers, but during a time like this, we all have something valuable to say, do, and contribute, even when it's not publicized on social media. Even when our actions seem too small to stand a chance against the rage and ignorance that plague this country, we have to be smart and proactive about where we stand. Over the past few days, I've noticed how eloquently many people have unconsciously scripted some really powerful thoughts that can easily be transferred to an essay or letter to their local legislation. If you aren't sure of what you can do when tragedies occur, keep working until you find solutions, or at least be apart of the solution, rather than the problem. Your gift - whatever it may be - is your voice, so if you really are a person who believes that BLACK LIVES MATTER (too), be someone who does something and encourages others to do the same. 

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    Friday, June 24, 2016

    Music Collective: vol. 48 {Shooter}

    Yesterday afternoon, the visual premier of "Shooter" by Atlanta artists, BOSCO & Speakerfoxxx, dropped. First of all, I've been following BOSCO's career for years and I'm so proud of how far she's come. Then to team up with a dope personality like Speakerfoxxx, these remarkable BFF's have an impressive, almost magical, on-set chemistry that is quite apparent in this video. Not only is this one of my favorite songs from their most recent project, Girls in the Yard, but I absolutely live from the energy of this video...so here for it. With endless style themes from the 90's, unapologetic girl power, and positive summer vibes, it's hard not to love! 
    @ChymereA
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    Thursday, June 23, 2016

    S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 : Books + Ambitions


    At the beginning of the year, I underestimated my ability to completely ignore the books I promised to finish before July stacked on the top of my desk, glaring at me day in and day out. And it was less about how much free time I actually had and more about lacking the desire to actually read. The first book I picked up was around May 31st, I read all of 2 or 3 pages, and sat it right back to collect dust with the others. The year's stress is just starting to subside enough for me to find the patience to sit revisit this list once again. Because it's summer, I'm leaning towards more light reads. 

    'Black Cool' is a collection of short essays, so that's been a breeze to sort through, loving it so far. Still waiting on my turn to finally get a hold of 'Between the World and Me' (and it better live up to the hype). The remaining two, 'In the Country We Love' and 'The New Cool' are substantially larger in volume, so I probably won't start those until the end of July.  All that being said, here are the 4 books on my summer reading list: 

    Books:

    1. 'Between the World and Me' by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
    2. 'Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness' by: Rebecca Walker
    3. 'The New Cool' by: Neal Bascomb
    4. 'In the Country We Love' by: Diane Guerrel
    ...as well as a simple list of goals to accomplish before summer's end, listing the first goal as the most important and the ones to follow in random order of importance, because HELLO, I need to be on somebody's beach as soon as possible. What's summer without the ocean? 

    Ambitions: 

    • Take a road trip to the beach
    • Vegetarian journey (tracking from 05.01.16) 
    • Purchase my domain
    • Consistently create fresh content for this blog and HBCU Buzz
    • Create more freelance opportunities for myself
    • Master the art of having fun without over-spending: spend less, save more

    What are you reading and accomplishing in S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 ?
    As always, book recomendations are welcomed and greatly appreciated here! 

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